first world problems


Our well water is drinkable.

I’m not sure that the word relieved accurately describes how I’m feeling after Friday morning’s tests. Believing that we were unable to use our tap water for more than dishes and laundry was a major source of my stress over the last few weeks. When J and his best friend moved into this house last September, it was with the understanding that the arsenic levels were high enough as to make the well unusable. They’ve been buying bottled water for nine months. Nine months. That’s a lot of bottled water.

With two very small children, I knew we couldn’t risk the well water having contaminants. Their little systems wouldn’t be able to handle it. However the idea of bottled water doesn’t sit well with me, both for the environmental implications, and the cost. We drink a lot of water, me in particular. We went through eight gallon jugs and two cases of individual bottles in the first ten days. Plus a fair bit of seltzer.

We debated buying a DIY testing kit, just to get an idea of what we were up against, but then I saw an ad in the Advertiser, one of those freebie community newspapers that comes with the mail, for free water testing. No obligation. You can’t beat free.

Steve from Aerus came this past Friday morning and spent about an hour in our kitchen, testing our water and explaining things to us. I didn’t take any photos, and it was a little bit of information overload, but the basic gist is that our water is fine. Hard, but fine. The arsenic levels are below a 5, on whatever scale is used, and that puts them below the safe level set by the state. Our TDI level is at 103, most likely because the water is hard and is corroding the older pipes, but no harmful substances are present to prevent us from using the tap water normally.

So I am no longer stressing about first world problems like boiling pasta, or making coffee, or freezing ice cubes. This whole experience really opens up some internal conversation about what it would be like to not have access to water, or to have to lug buckets and jugs for miles in order to bathe or cook. Even if the well had been undrinkable, I could still shower and wash dishes with it. Or wash the clothes in the washing machine I was previously complaining about.

Still. I am profoundly grateful for clean water.

One thought on “first world problems

  1. If you are looking for clean drinking water (a TDS level of 103 isn’t terrible but isn’t great either) I would suggest installing a RO (Reverse Osmosis) system in the kitchen. That will produce enough clean water for drinking, cooking, and ice cubes. Once you install the system you’ll just need to replace the filters every year or two. RO systems are available for sale at Home Depot or Lowe’s.


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